By Jim W. Dean

Duante Wright, a senseless death due to family and police negligence

April 20, 2021 - 17:8

America saw another tragedy in the senseless death of this young black man. Two lives are now destroyed, a 20 year old young man struggling with competency and responsibility issues, and a 26 year female police veteran who when attempting to tase the resisting arrest man, drew her service revolver from her right hip when the taser was on her left hip.

She correctly yelled ‘taser’ three times to warn off any other officers from jumping in front of her when she fired. To her horror, a gun blast went off where she revealed her shock on her bodycam audio.

Not only was the taser on her left hip, but it also had a rectangular boxed shaped plastic yellow grip as a double safety feature. It was designed to avoid this kind of mistake being made. No one can remember such an error being made before in a police shooting.

The officer quickly resigned, as did the chief of the department. After two days the officer was arrested and charged with second-degree manslaughter. 

The incident happened just miles away from the ongoing George Floyd murder trial, which triggered angry crowds converging at the police station and the looting of innocent businesses in the neighborhood, more young black men exploiting the situation for some personal gain. Fortunately, none of the stores were firebombed.

The investigation is basically over. A police officer made a terrible mistake which proper training should have prevented. But there is another side to the story that is not getting any attention, and in fairness to all, it should. 

The 20-year-old Duante Wright also made a big mistake that contributed to his death. He resisted arrest during what was to be a misdemeanor traffic stop, which is always a stupid thing to do. If he had not done so he would still be alive. Why did he do this? 

He was outside of the car being handcuffed and then broke away and jumped back into the car over to the side where his lady passenger was, in what seemed to be a position that he could kick at the arresting officers. This is the typical resisting arrest situation where the non-lethal taser is routinely used and has saved many lives.

News reports have only lightly covered that Mr. Wright had been arrested a year earlier for carrying a pistol without a license, and then did not show up to his court date, so he had two warrants out for his arrest for over a year. Where was his family then?

Although seemingly unemployed he was driving what looked like a new car, described as a recent gift from a family member, but he had an expired inspection sticker which a police patrol spotted and pulled him over. 

So now we have a mistake that his family made. Someone gave him a car with an expired inspection sticker when they must have known he had warrants out for him, certainly his mother, and the person giving him the car. 

The car donator remains unknown, and the mother has not spoken a word about knowledge of his warrants, which were not serious offenses. Duante would have been fined and maybe 30 days in jail for not showing up to trial. 

The George Floyd trial triggered a passionate response in the black community, understandably so. The family quickly raised over a half-million dollars in Go Fund Me donations, and with the George Floyd family getting a $27 million wrongful death suit, the Wright family, the young man’s baby and unknown mother will be financially well provided for.

Nothing can undo the tragedy. All that can be done now is to try to learn how to avoid such events in the future. The police department has some embarrassing and painful issues to deal with for their responsibility, and I may be the only journalist to say the family also should deal with their responsibility for what happened.

This 20-year-old man has a profile of a spoiled kid, high school dropout, zero work history, a baby out of wedlock, and friends that said he enjoyed ‘goofing off'. The family seems to have ignored helping him take care of his warrants, maybe feeling they were protecting him. 

They made a big mistake. They must have known about his warrants, which him unemployable, so whoever gave him the car was an idiot, negligent, and also contributed to his death.

To all the families out there covering for problem kids, do try to learn something from this. Covering for immature children, especially man-children, is hurting, and not helping them. It’s called misplaced kindness, where ‘tough love’ is needed instead.